WINNIPEG — Michael Amadio scored 3:40 into the second overtime period to lift the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-4 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday that gave them a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Jets centre Adam Lowry tied the game 4-4 with 21.9 seconds remaining in regulation when he used a rebound to beat Vegas goalie Laurent Brossoit. Lowry extended his series goal streak to four in three games.
Winnipeg went into the third period down 4-1, but goals by Nino Niederreiter at 2:04 and Mark Scheifele on the power play with under six minutes remaining closed the gap to 4-3 and had fans roaring for a comeback.
A sold-out crowd of 15,325 at Canada Life Centre continued the “whiteout” playoff tradition of wearing white and waving white towels. Game 4 of the Western Conference best-of-seven clash goes Monday.
Jack Eichel fired in a pair of power-play goals and added an assist for Vegas. Chandler Stephenson had a goal and one assist and Keegan Kolesar also scored. Alex Pietrangelo contributed a pair of assists.
Brossoit, who spent three seasons playing for the Jets, made 30 saves.
Kyle Connor notched a goal and one assist, and defenceman Neal Pionk had three helpers for Winnipeg.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 43 shots for the eighth-seeded Jets, who had won the first game in Vegas 5-1 last Tuesday before losing 5-2 on Thursday.
Winnipeg was minus a key player when all-star defenceman Josh Morrisey left the game four minutes into the first period with a lower-body injury.
The Golden Knights led 2-1 after an opening period that featured big hits and trips to the penalty box.
Vegas scored on its first two shots of the game.
Stephenson beat Hellebuyck with a low blast during four-on-four play at 2:52.
Jets defenceman Brenden Dillon and Kolesar were already in the penalty box for fighting 49 seconds into the game.
Kolesar returned to the box with Winnipeg centre Pierre-Luc Dubois for roughing, along with the Jets Scheifele for slashing Brossoit, at 5:09.
Eichel, who’s competing in his first playoffs, used a one-timer on the power play to make it 2-0 at 6:18.
Connor closed the gap to one after tipping in a Dylan DeMelo shot at 9:07.
When the horn ended the intense opening frame, Vegas led 10-6 on shots on goal but Winnipeg won 29-17 in the hits department.
Eichel tallied his second one-timer goal, and third marker of the series, on the power play at 10:46. Kolesar put a rebound past Hellebuyck with 2:15 remaining.
Niederreiter’s high shot went by Brossoit at 2:04 to make it 4-2. Scheifele recorded his first goal of the playoffs when he used Whitecloud as a screen and fired a high shot by Brossoit at 14:08.
Hellebuyck left the net for the extra attacker and Lowry got the equalizer at 19:38 to send it to overtime.
Vegas got six shots on goal in the first overtime. Winnipeg had five, including Dubois hitting the post.
Morrissey collided knee-on-knee with Vegas defenceman Zach Whitecloud and appeared to be favouring his right knee when he went to the bench at 4:34 of the first and didn’t return.
The team announced he was out because of a lower-body injury.
Pionk shone in Morrissey’s absence, tying the Jets-Thrashers’ franchise record for points in a playoff game. He also became the second defenceman to accomplish the feat. Retired defenceman Dustin Byfuglien had a pair of goals and one assist in the 2018 playoffs.
NO FLY ZONE
Speedy Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers missed a third straight playoff game.
Winnipeg head coach Rick Bowness told media before Saturday’s game that Ehlers hasn’t received medical clearance to play.
Ehlers was injured in an April 11 regular-season game against Minnesota when Wild forward Ryan Hartman hit the winger nicknamed “Fly” when he didn’t have the puck.
Ehlers cleared concussion protocol but missed the team’s final regular-season game. He practised with the team last week, but is still out with an upper-body injury.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2023.
Judy Owen, The Canadian Press